How does what you eat affect the skin’s ageing process?
Whatever happens in your gut is going to affect your skin. Whatever you put in your body affects your overall immune system, cell function and energy levels, so naturally, it will affect your skin. I characterise four faces of ageing in my book – gluten face, dairy face, sugar face and wine face.
Sugar in particular causes glycation. It gets your collagen molecules to stick and not function optimally. They become rigid and this causes your skin to sag. Dairy causes inflammation in the gut and triggers a bunch of inflammatory mediators. This causes sinus congestion that in turn, can cause darkness under the eyes, puffiness in the face, and an upset tummy. Alot of people tend to get these small little bumps in the face, and that’s caused by dairy as well. Gluten can cause gut permeability issues, also known as leaky gut syndrome. This affects the effective absorption of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
What good eating habits should we be following?
Generally the rule of thumb is to include more fruits and vegetables into your diet. These foods are rich in antioxidants Having enough fibre in your diet allows you to retain enough water and keep your hydration levels up. Incorporating more protein into one’s diet is also key. Protein is so important for your skin and hair – all of that is made up of protein. It also helps to balance your blood sugar levels.
How you eat is also something to bear in mind. Chewing your food really well allows you to break down those nutrients and prevent it taking a toll on your digestive system.
Can you discuss the importance of including probiotics and digestive enzymes in our diet?
Probiotics such as my healthy flora probiotics regulate one’s digestive health. Probiotics work on the inside where they reduce inflammation in the gut. They also increase the absorption of vitamins and help with hormonal metabolism. It’s an amazing inside-out approach. The Swiss strain included in my probiotics have also been shown to support lactose intolerance. It helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and produce vitamins (your B6,B12 and Folic Acid). It also suppresses the overgrowth of bacteria.The inclusion of grapeseed extract also improves absorption in the gut lumin. Anyone who is susceptible for traveler’s diarrhea will also be protected.
Personally, I take my digestive enzymes with every meal to help optimise the absorption of minerals. It helps break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. This takes the toll off your immune system. So if you’re eating something that doesn’t sit so well with you, it will help break that down and translate food into nutrients more readily. You will feel less bloated and your bowel movements will start to regulate. For most people who take them, they feel great.
Can you talk about the 80/20 rule?
In my book I talk about an 80/20 rule. As long you are eating the foods you feel good with 80% of the time then that’s great. It’s fine to have the cheat meal like pizza, otherwise what’s the point in living? Yes enjoy life, but if it makes you that sick and you have horrible acne and horrible digestion, then change. Change your diet, follow the 4 week program in my book and see how you feel. Most people feel better, so the proof is in the pudding.
What does beauty mean to you?
I think everybody is trying to look the same by overdoing botox. I don’t think that’s beautiful. Some fine lines and wrinkles are beautiful, it adds character to your face. Beauty is about the quality and clarity of the skin. Having clear and glowing skin, that’s the sign of youth.
With clients including Stella McCartney, Penelope Cruz and Sienna Miller, Dr Nigma Talib, ND is one of London’s most sought after naturopathic practitioner and skincare specialists. Coining the phrase ‘Digest-Ageing’, her approach to skincare focusses on the effects of diet on the quality of our skin. With more than 15 years of experience in the complementary therapy field, Nigma encompasses all the modalities of naturopathic practice: acupuncture, botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, homeopathy, and lifestyle counselling.
For more information on her practice visit www.healthydoc.com.
And to purchase her skincare line visit www.net-a-porter.com
Image courtesy of Bruce Anderson for THE EDIT/NET-A-PORTER